Eurovision Typography Emergency

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Johan Palme's picture
Joined: 23 Jan 2011 - 6:07am
Eurovision Typography Emergency

Just a quirky typography tale and conundrum.

The Eurovision Song Contest is easily the biggest televisual event of the year in Sweden. The national selection for what song will get to go stretches out over six weeks, with over a third of the population seeing each qualification round and almost half the final. It's an enormous production on a mastodon scale, with artists, dancers, choreographers, set designers and TV producers spending months trying out everything to perfection.

Which is why I was so surprised when one of the performances switched typefaces in less than 24 hours.

Eric Saade is hotly tipped to win the Swedish selection. On Thursday, he entered the first rehearsal for his qualification round, performing the song "Popular". He's the young kids' choice and has an amazing crew of dancers.

On the big plasma screens behind him that form the main part of the set the word "POP" flashed in and out repeatedly. I saw clips from it at a preview show and was startled because the text was in... Hobo. :|

But: at the dress rehearsal 24 hours later the Hobo was gone, replaced by an ultrabold condensed sans and giving off an entirely different impression:

I wonder what made them change, that quickly and that late in the production cycle?

Nick Curtis's picture
Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am

I am reasonably confident that the order in which things are done in a video production haven't changed much since I worked in commercial television over thirty years ago (although the tools are entirely different). Graphics which will appear live during a production are usually among the last things done, since the turnaround time is relatively brief and rehearsal is rarely required to insert them properly.

In this instance, it appears that POP in Hobo is merely a placeholder, just plopped in; the final presentation appears to have been designed...